Author Archives: George Simmers

After many years as a teacher, I retired and began researching for a Ph.D. on the fiction of the Great War – especially the books, stories and plays that were written during the War or immediately afterwards.

The Fusiliers Museum, Bury

I’d wanted to visit the Fusiliers Museum at Bury before I gave my Ted Hughes paper last month. This is because Ted’s father had served with the 1st/5th Lancashire Fusiliers at Gallipoli, and later in France. The regiment was based in Bury, which was William Hughes’s home town. I didn’t manage it then, but finally […]

Following Sassoon in France

Last week’s trip to France with Battle Honours Tours exceeded my expectations. The tour’s title was Sassoon on the Western Front, and our itinerary followed his military progress, around the places in France where he served and fought. We had two guides. Rory Stephens took us through the military background with commendably revisionist enthusiasm and […]

To the Front, with Sassoon

Marion and I are off to London today, and tomorrow will be heading to Ebbsfleet, to join a tour organised by Battle Honours, in conjunction with the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship: Siegfried Sassoon on the Western Front. We’ll be following the poet’s wartime career, beginning in Festubert, where he met Robert Graves (‘a young poet, captain […]

‘Dayspring Mishandled’ in the Strand Magazine

I’ve just got hold of the Strand magazine for July, 1928 (Thank you, Cotswold Internet Books). As well as Kipling’s ‘Dayspring Mishandled’, it contains P.G.Wodehouse’s ‘The Passing of Ambrose’ (later turned into a Mulliner story, and a serial episode of Sapper’s The Female of the Species. The Strand‘s readers got value for their shilling that […]

More on Kipling and Syphilis

Some more thoughts on this subject, partly as a response to Roger’s comment on my ‘Kipling and Syphilis’ post of a fortnight ago. How likely is it that syphilis is a theme of ‘Dayspring Mishandled’? It can at least be shown that venereal disease was a concern of Kipling’s throughout his career. As I suggested […]

‘Khaki and Kisses’ at Sheffield

Last minute reminder for ‘Khaki and Kisses’, three talks on First World War fiction at Sheffield Hallam University tomorrow (Thursday 22nd). I shall be speaking about Great War fiction generally; then Prof. Chris Hopkins will discuss the romantic novels of Berta Ruck and Dr Erica Brown will talk about Elizabeth von Armin. Full details are […]

The Edinburgh Companion to the First World War and the Arts

Of all the research I’ve done over the past few years, the job I’ve most enjoyed has been finding out about the songs that British soldiers sang songs. This was for my contribution to the Edinburgh Companion to the First World War and the Arts. Big thanks to editors Anne-Marie Einhaus and Katherine Baxter for […]

Ted Hughes

I spent yesterday at the Ted Hughes conference in the smart Heritage Quay suite at Huddersfield University. I gave a paper titled ‘Ted Hughes and Gallipoli’, about his representations of his father’s war (William Hughes was on the peninsula with the 1st/5th Lancashire Fusiliers and, Hughes wrote, remained ‘undemobbed’, still troubled by his experiences for […]

Wonder Woman (12A)

Huddled in a front line trench in November 1918, a Belgian refugee bemoans her flight to some visitors. Inflamed by the narrative, one of the visitors, a young woman, rips off her coat and dress, and, clad only in a sort of armour plated swimming costume, nimbly slips over the top to confront the enemy. […]

Kipling and Syphilis

The June edition of the Kipling Journal arrived today, including a letter I wrote to the editor about the story ‘Dayspring Mishandled’ (collected in Limits and Renewals of 1932). I suggest that the hidden theme of the story is the subject of syphilis (unmentionable in the family-oriented magazines where Kipling’s work was usually published) . […]